Refuse to Cower!

As National Poetry Month 2024 comes to its end, we acknowledge poetry’s ongoing influence in our lives. Though I will continue to post poems, I will refrain from daily posts for now … maybe until next April? No, I’m pretty sure I’ll post again before next year.

I began the month with a lighthearted April Fools Day poem. And it’s worth mentioning on this day fifty-eight years ago, The Church of Satan was founded. Though I hesitate to draw attention to this founding, I recognize the pervasive lure toward New Age spirituality and away from traditional Christianity. Continue reading “Refuse to Cower!”

Transforming the Quotidian

More often than not, a child’s first exposure to poetry is through nursery rhymes and Mother Goose. As we observe the final Sunday of National Poetry Month 2024, I wanted to recognize the role of nursery rhymes in providing a literary foundation for readers and poets everywhere.

Nursery rhymes are a rudimentary form of poetry. In general, children love the repetitious quality of simple verses. Twinkle, twinkle little starOne, Two, Buckle My ShoePat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker’s Man. The rhythms delight. The rhymes become fixed in memory. When there are numbers involved, the little ones learn basic counting.

Continue reading “Transforming the Quotidian”

The Fragrance of Christ

We’re two weeks into National Poetry Month 2024, and it’s a beautiful day outside (maybe a bit unseasonal at 82º), but poetry is in season whatever the outdoor temperature.

This being Sunday, I wanted to post a more serious poem (no silliness) but this one requires a personal admission:  from time to time, I experience unfortunate lapses in my level of spiritual maturity. Because our income taxes are due tomorrow and I have much to do to complete them, I’m bummed. Taxes have become such a chore for me! Anyone else feel the same?

Continue reading “The Fragrance of Christ”

Finding My Location

Thirteen days into our observance of National Poetry Month 2024, I think this is a good occasion for review. A dear friend and reader asked me recently about the name of this blog. Where does it originate, why did I choose the name, etc.? Others may have had similar questions, so let’s pull back the curtain (so to speak).

I launched this blog in July 2010. Names are always tricky but my vision for this writing platform was to share my thoughts, my poetry and my faith and, in the process, possibly earn an audience. I chose the name Wiseblooding as an homage to Flannery O’Connor, a writer I greatly admired. Her first novel was titled Wise Blood. Continue reading “Finding My Location”

Basketful of Joy

Day seven of National Poetry Month 2024 and there were multiple poems I might have posted here today. However, since it’s a Sunday, I wanted to take a slightly more serious tone. (In general, I tend to lean more on the humorous side. If you can’t laugh in this life, it’s got to be pretty dismal overall. That’s not a world in which I’m very comfortable.)

Today’s sonnet celebrates my joy of living (joie de vivre). Some years ago, I remember a certain political candidate stating an opinion that there were many Americans (about half the country) who could be appropriately characterized as a “basket of deplorables.” Opinions differ, of course, and everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

Continue reading “Basketful of Joy”

Resurrection! Such Good News!

Women stood at the Cross as Jesus Christ died. Women attended Christ’s body after He died. Women were first to arrive at the empty Tomb. We are truly blessed.

The Finished Life

People die. As unpleasant as it is, it’s a fact. Overall, our culture seems mostly inured to this sobering fact. Perhaps it’s explainable (in part) with how movies depict death. If there’s lots of blood splashed across the screen, our brains dismiss it. If the script wanders into sappy sentimentalism when a character dies, we may roll our eyes and chuckle.

Image by TC Perch from Pixabay

But death is real … and none of us escapes its clutches. In solemn contemplation of Holy Week, I’ve reflected on Christ’s sacrifice. The Resurrection may be (for many) a familiar tale, but its substance and straightforward details never cease to amaze. Continue reading “The Finished Life”

Culture As Report Card – Part II

In my previous post, I discussed how the culture has made an indelible mark on today’s Church. There’s a statement making its way around social media which addresses culture and the church. While there are various versions, the image (below left) is one I screen-shot from Facebook. 

Considering the number of places online where I’ve noticed this (and similar) expressions of concern, I think it’s safe to say many people are becoming more aware of the downward slide of the church. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, US church membership has declined sharply over the last two decades. An even more recent poll shows US church membership falling to its lowest level ever.

It’s difficult to identify the exact cause (or causes) of this decline. Some observers have even suggested the slide began in 1517 when a priest named Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg (Germany). Luther was, after all, challenging church authority and doing so in a very public way.

Continue reading “Culture As Report Card – Part II”

Culture As Report Card – Part I

A pithy observation has tucked itself away within my memory. Though I can’t recall who said it (else I’d provide proper attribution), the comment begs for reflection and due consideration, especially as our social norms face new challenges almost every day.

Culture is the Report Card of the Church

Over the years, the terminology for a Report Card has morphed into something meant to sound less ominous:  Progress Report … Student Assessment … Quarterly Evaluation. Still, whatever it’s called, this periodic report often causes unnecessary dread for the person (or organization) being evaluated. Continue reading “Culture As Report Card – Part I”

Come, Let Us Worship the King

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/geralt-9301/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=4705532">Gerd Altmann</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com//?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=4705532">Pixabay</a>

Our church held Christmas Eve services yesterday. They’ve held similar services every year, I guess, but since we’re usually at home with family, this was the first time we’d taken part. The particular service we attended was designed as a family service so lots of children were in attendance. We’d been told it might be noisy … and it was.

Christmas decorations were beautifully displayed in the large foyer outside the worship center. A Christmas tree … pictures of angels painted on large canvases … a child-size Manger / Nativity scene … the kind of seasonal displays where families gather to snap a Christmas photo.

I happened to stand in front of the Manger scene and my attention was drawn in. The figures and presentation were similar to numerous displays I’ve observed through the years … but something was off. When my daughter-in-law walked up next to me, she noticed it as well. “Joseph’s foot is larger than the Baby Jesus and the manger together!” she said.

She was right. The standing figures were proportionally out of sync with the Child lying in the manger, as if two different Nativity scenes had been (carelessly) combined. I should have taken a quick picture of the scene but I found it too grotesque.

Like Mary (Luke 2:19), I’m given to pondering the inescapable irony. With all the various ways in which we celebrate Christmas, has the occasion’s central meaning (focused on the singular Person of Jesus Christ) been shoved into the background? As the shopping and gift-giving and parties and feasting keep us hyper-busy, does the Babe in a Manger recede to forgetfulness?

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love Christmas! It’s a joyous time and should be celebrated with gusto and jubilance! Christ is come! Let us worship and adore Him!

Still, I’m the first to admit I can go overboard and the temptation (too often) is to get things out of balance. The unfortunate image of a shrinking Baby Jesus will stick in my brain and (I’m hopeful) nudge me to remember always the real basis for our hope, joy, peace and love — our Saviour’s birth.

May God bless you on this special day. Merry Christmas!